Milan Michalek is expected to return to the Ottawa Senators line-up soon. Possibly on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. At the very latest, he should be back by the play-offs.
So the question is, where do you insert him into the line-up?
You just can't bump Peter Regin off the top line right now as he has been way too hot. He has developed more chemistry with Jason Spezza in the last 6 games or so than Michalek has all season.
So there is likely two options: Put him with Mike Fisher and Alexei Kovalev or with Chris Kelly and Chris Neil.
Both have their pros and cons:
His presence on a line with Fisher and Kovalev might infuse some energy and offense into a line that has struggled in that department as of late.
However, Milan might have the same chemistry issues with Alexei as he had with Spezza. Jason and Kovy are similar players.
However, The Watermelon Warrior and Mike might just have a ball using their speed and grit to crash the net, with Kovalev getting the puck to them.
Michalek is also a turnover machine: he often overskates on his rushes, turning over the puck. This has resulted in a -11 rating. Alexei is also known for turnovers as he often tries to do too much with the puck. Do we really want them both on the ice at the same time?
Kelly and Neil, on the other hand, would always have his back defensively, givingMilan more freedom.
Plus, Michalek's game is closer to Jarkko Ruutu's than that of Matt Cullen who currently plays with Fisher and Kovalev and would have to be bumped down should Michalek join that line. So he might fit on the Two Chris's line better.
But Cullen's defensive awareness would also fit well with Kelly and Neil.
Or of course there's always the option of forming a new line, with Matt joining Nick Foligno and Jesse Winchester or Zack Smith, allowing Milan to join Mike and Alexei as well as keeping the Ruutu, Kelly, Neil line that has been so effective intact.
What do you guys think?